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The 2014 archive

Kamilya Jubran

Wasl © A. Poupeney


Wasl is a collective creation headed by Kamilya Jubran (oud, vocals), with Sarah Murcia (double bass) and Werner Hasler (trumpet and electronics). It is a bold experiment that strikes a chord with the recent upheavals in the Arab world and with the question of the future of Palestine, the land of Kamilya Jubran, which looks a lot like the Andalusia of Mahmoud Darwish's poem: “Was Andalusia here or there? On the land or in the poem?” In Wasl, Kamilya Jubran sings the poems of Salman Masalha (Israel, Palestine) and Hassan Najmi (Morocco).

Five Songs
"Was Andalusia here or there? On the land or in the poem?"*

*On our last evening on this land, by Mahmoud Darwish

While western music evolved around the concepts of polyphony and harmony, so-called Arab music, and more generally the music that developed in the Muslim world, has remained first and foremost vocal and melodic, faithful to the tradition of monody in which singing and the human voice play a central part, whether they are accompanied by instruments or not. This music is built around a rich system of melodic modes, called maqams, a term used by both Arabic and Turkish music, and which has endured mostly thanks to oral tradition. That music has evolved by coming into contact with different legacies and ancient cultures. It is “an impressive poetic and musical common core that still today allows improvisation, from Marrakech to Bukhara,” according to Frédéric Deval, director of the Transcultural Programme of the Royaumont Foundation. “The present is shattering this frame of reference, at least in part. The political fault lines in the Arab world also betray a deep shift in terms of sensibilities and aesthetics.” The Arab Spring, globalisation, and the internet all played and continue to play a part in the porosity one can find in the work of artists who upset cultural, linguistic or religious affiliations, but also legacies and practices of transmission of artistic knowledge. The result of a partnership with the Royaumont Foundation, Five Songs brings together five creations and that share a common approach, testifying of the possibility of a fertile hybridization between poetic and musical cultures.

Mustapha Laribi, April 2014


Musical direction  Kamilya Jubran

By poems from Salman Masalha et Hasan Najmi
With Werner Hasler (trumpet, electronic), Kamilya Jubran (voice, oud), Sarah Murcia (double bass)

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